The Fruits of the Spirit
Lesson 92


Unbelievers have little concern for what the Christian believes-thy are far more interested in the fruitage of his faith. Does your faith make you easy to get along with? Generously dispositioned? Selflessly concerned for others? Does your love for Jesus keep you good-natured? Sweet-tempered? Cheerful? Said the Master; “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one to another.” John 13:35.

At another time Christ declared of those who professed to be religious, “By their fruits ye shall know them” Matthew 7:20. Not by certain signs or manifestations are Christ’s followers to be known, but by their fruits. Christ warned His followers to beware of false prophets, false tongues, false healings, and false signs, because Satan can easily counterfeit. God earnestly warns us to beware of Satan’s masquerades: “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1,2.

God has indeed given various gifts or manifestations of the Spirit, but He has made it clear that these are to be tested; they are not to be themselves the test. Christ made the fruits of the Spirit the all-important test. The fruit we bear tells the world whether we have enthroned the carnal nature in our hearts or the Spirit of Christ, whether we have allowed ourselves to be controlled by an unholy spirit or by the Holy Spirit.

To say that one is controlled by the Holy Spirit is not to say that there is no more conflict with sin. Galatians 5:17 describes the conflict that will exist as long as we are mortal: “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.” The world may not be able to see the struggle going on in the heart, but the world can see who is winning the battle by the way we behave. The Christian may fall occasionally, but he regrets his un-Christ like acts and endeavors to overcome.

The fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians 5:22,23 is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” The Holy Spirit blesses us with all these attributes. Love heads the list. At creation God endowed man with His own love; but when Adam sinned, his capacities to love became limited-he could not love God with all his heart or his neighbor as himself. Those who are born of the Spirit experience that original love, a love beyond anything that the unconverted soul could know-God’s kind of love.

We naturally love those who love us, but Jesus told His disciples to love those who did not love them. (Matthew 5:44-48.) True love, He said, would go even so far as to die for a friend. (John 15:13.) Christ had this kind of love and more, for “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8.)

The followers of Jesus must love with a more than natural love, for Jesus commanded them to love “as I have loved you. (John 13:34.)

How can a man ever hope to have a love that human beings do not naturally possess? The Bible provides an answer: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5. God manifests His love to us by the Holy Spirit, which testifies of Christ; and as we behold His love, we are changed. The Holy Spirit gives us the very same kind of love that dwells in the heart of God. However, it is ours only as we use it.

We cannot grasp the full meaning of the love of God or agape love. The apostle Paul after exhausting the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, of language, exclaimed that the love of Christ “passeth knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:16-19.) We do not have to understand God’s love to accept it and appreciate it. The heart can accept what the mind cannot comprehend.

Every Christian can know the love of God, and in his daily life reveal that love. His life may become a sermon for all to see. All of the fruits of the Spirit are to be beautifully blended in the lives of Christians. Their lives will not attract attention to themselves, but will ever point to Jesus.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.” 1 John 4:18. Those who are responsive to the love of the Spirit will “love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:8.) The “love of the Spirit” contagiously inspires courage. Many a person has been lifted above his doubts and fears by the “spirit … of love (2 Timothy 1:7) revealed in the unselfish acts of another’s life.


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